There are many reasons why parents-to-be opt for surrogacy when starting a family, including fertility issues, a history of pregnancy loss, being in a same-sex relationship, or simply not wanting to carry. But, despite a 350% growth in the use of surrogates in the UK and internationally in the last 12 years [via Brilliant Beginnings], it's not a topic that often comes up in conversation.
To break the silence around surrogacy, more and more celebrities are opening up about their experience and decision to use one. Take Kim Kardashian for example, after two high-risk pregnancies she opted for a surrogate to carry her third and fourth children. Meanwhile, actor and model Amber Heard chose to use a surrogate to embark on motherhood as a single parent.
There are two different types of surrogacy—gestational and traditional. Gestational surrogates are not biologically related to the child they carry, and usually conceive through IVF (where an embryo is created using an egg donor, or from the child's intended mother, and transferred into her uterus). A traditional surrogate, on the other hand, uses her own eggs and is therefore biologically related to the child.
With that in mind, we've taken a look at all the celebrities who've welcomed children via surrogacy, and what they've had to say about the experience. It's important to bear in mind though, that surrogacy laws in the UK and the US differ, so if you're hoping to use a surrogate to start your family, it's best to check the government's official advice.
1. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick
In 2009, Sex And The City's Sarah Jessica Parker and her film star husband, Matthew Broderick, welcomed twin daughters.
Speaking of the decision to use a surrogate, SJP told Access Hollywood: "Well, you know, we've been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so. This was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us."
The couple also have a son, born 2002, whom SJP carried.
2. Gabrielle Union
Bring It On star Gabrielle Union surprised fans in 2018 when she revealed that she and husband Dwyane Wade had welcomed a daughter via surrogate.
"We are sleepless and delirious but so excited to share that our miracle baby arrived last night via surrogate," she said in an Instagram post announcing the news.
The actor had previously opened up about how adenomyosis (a condition where the tissue that normally lines the womb starts to grow within the muscular wall of the womb) had affected her fertility. Speaking to Essence, she said: "Towards the end of my fertility journey I finally got some answers, because everyone said 'You're a career woman, you've prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you're just too old to have a kid—and that’s on you for wanting a career. The reality is I actually have adenomyosis."
3. Andy Cohen
TV presenter and producer Andy Cohen announced in 2018 that he was expecting his first child via surrogacy.
Speaking on an episode of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, he said: "After many years of careful deliberation, a fair amount of prayers and the benefit of science, if all goes according to plan, in about six weeks time, I'm going to become a father thanks to a wonderful surrogate who is carrying my future."
He added, "Family means everything to me and having one of my own is something that I have wanted in my heart for my entire life."
4. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
After two difficult pregnancies carrying North and Saint, and developing placenta accreta (a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall), Kim Kardashian and her now estranged husband, Kanye West, opted for a surrogate for their third and fourth children, Chicago and Psalm.
Speaking on her website about her surrogate, Kim said: "We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give."
Kim took her fans along with her on her surrogacy journey as she openly talked about her experience while filming Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She also offered surrogacy advice to her younger sister, Khloe, as she explored this option.
5. Tan France
Earlier this year, Queer Eye presenter and fashion designer Tan France shared the exciting news that he and his husband were expecting their first child via a surrogate.
"So happy to finally share that WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!" he told his 3.8 million Instagram followers, "No, I'm not pregnant, despite this VERY realistic pic. With the greatest gift/help of the most wonderful surrogate, Rob and I are lucky enough to be on our way to being parents, this summer. Something we've wanted for soooo many years. Our hearts are so full right now. I cannot wait to hold this baby, and to show him so much love."
6. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
According to Us Weekly, Nicole described her experience as a "roller coaster ride with fertility," and when asked about her surrogate, she simply said: "She was the most wonderful woman to do this for us."
7. Lucy Liu
Charlie's Angels star Lucy Liu revealed in 2015 that she'd welcomed her first child, Rockwell Lloyd Liu, via surrogate. "It just seemed like the right option for me because I was working and I didn't know when I was going to be able to stop," Liu told People of her decision to turn to gestational surrogacy. "I decided that was probably the best solution for me, and it turned out to be great."
Speaking about her experience as a new mom, she said on the Today Show: "Every day is just a miracle and a dream because everything is so different every day. You're not even thinking about 'Is it Monday or Tuesday' or 'What time is it?' anymore, you're just thinking about how he's changed from minute to minute and his reactions—also, how you are and how you grow as a human being, being around another human being like that" [via Us Weekly].
8. Amber Heard
Actor Amber Heard took to Instagram earlier this year to share the exciting announcement that she'd become a mother. "I'm so excited to share this news with you," she told her four million Instagram followers.
"Four years ago, I decided I wanted to have a child. I wanted to do it on my own terms. I now appreciate how radical it is for us as women to think about one of the most fundamental parts of our destinies in this way," the 35-year-old added, "I hope we arrive at a point in which it's normalized to not want a ring in order to have a crib."
9. Neil Patrick Harris
How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris welcomed not one but two kids via a surrogate, when he became a father to twins in 2010.
Speaking about their experience with surrogacy as a gay couple, Neil's husband, David Burtka said: "It's a lot harder for gay guys [to have kids], although we tried!" [Via Wendy Williams Show].
"[There were] two different women involved. There was an egg donor, a wonderful woman who was anonymous. We took two of our best guys and implanted them into her eggs, two different eggs," he added.
10. Tyra Banks
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said: "I don't remember if it was, 'Am I less than a woman?' but I remember just thinking, 'Oh my god, I waited too long, like, why did I do this?"
Tyra continued, "I think I'm lucky, you know, I did about a year and a half of IVF and some women do it for years and years and years."
On the topic of whether she'd have more children, she said, "I think that was the end. I think I probably could've kept going, but I just think it wasn't healthy for my body because less eggs and less eggs and less eggs, you know, every month. But I'm so happy."
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.